Oscar Wegner: “Switching Court Surfaces”

Written by: Oscar Wegner


***World-renowned coach, author and educator, and a tour player in the 1960s, Oscar Wegner created Modern Tennis Methodology to contribute to the advancement and popularity of tennis worldwide. He modeled the strokes after the best examples of all time, encouraging applying the techniques in a simple, natural, and idiosyncratic way. Oscar is widely acclaimed for his critical impact to the sport of tennis in countries like Spain, Russia, and all of South America.  In the past two decades China and Eastern Europe have converted to his coaching techniques. Over the past 40 years Oscar has played an instrumental role in educating and inspiring tens of thousands of tennis coaches and players at all levels, corroborating their success with thousands of testimonials, letters and e-mails. To learn more, visit www.tennisteacher.com***


Many players have switched to indoor courts for the winter. These are usually hard courts or carpet. Hard courts can vary in speed according to the composite they were built with. Adding more fine sand to the mix, for example, makes the surface slower.

Carpets at different clubs could differ on texture.

There are differences within the same type clay courts too, depending on how damp the court is. Some indoor court clay surfaces seem like a rock.

Players usually have difficulty adjusting to different court surfaces.

Changing from one type surface to another will require that you make adjustments both on timing the ball and in your swing.

The most efficient thing to do is to stalk the ball after the bounce, with the racquet still on both hands, as long as possible. This will help you adjust the timing of your stroke to the later part of the flight, when the ball is near you and quite visible.

Your backswing may this way be minimized. You may lose ball speed. It is far better to lose some power early in your adjustment than missing and losing confidence.

If you switched from clay to hard you seem to have cut your time markedly. The tendency, thereof, when changing from clay to hard courts is to rush.

But, if you rush, on any surface, you’ll be in trouble.

Especially on hard courts. Take your racquet back early and you’d be caught with your racquet behind your body, or you’ll have to force it forward too fast, losing control.

That is why I recommend to shorten the preparation on hard courts. Keep the racquet in front longer, let the ball come closer to you than usual, then go back and forth with your swing. Make sure you accelerate with the ball on your strings, and rather than following the ball with your racquet, swing up and across the body, you’ll brush it, and you’ll have more contact time and more control.

Overall, let your body tell you how it wants to move on the surface you are playing at. To force your footwork in unnatural ways is the main cause of leg, hip and lower back injuries in tennis.

Be a natural. In this sense, copy the pros.

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